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Are You Practicing Yachting Safety?

May 25, 2011

Are you operating your yacht safely?  That’s the question to keep in mind this week as it is National Safe Boating Week, May 21 – 27.

With most yachts under 75 feet operated by the owner of the yacht or his family, safety should always be a concern.  If you’re like most yacht owners, you take great care in the maintenance and operation of your vessel.  That means that you are already aware that safety issues play a large role in yacht ownership.

Here are some interesting – and sobering – facts gathered by the National Safe Boating Council.

In 80% of boating accidents, the cause of death is drowning.  

In 90% of those drownings, the person was not wearing a life vest.

That means that 72 out of every 100 boating fatalities occurred simply because the person was not wearing a life vest.

The top contributing factors to boating fatalities include: Yacht Safety

  • Operator Inattention
  • Operator Experience
  • Excessive Speed
  • Alcohol

These factors generally result in two types of accidents – which can be fatal:

  • Collision With A Vessel
  • Collision With A Fixed Object

Obviously, just wearing a life vest is not going to help in all of these situations!  What are some other simple safety precautions you can take on your yacht?

  • Knowing the ‘rules of the road’
  • Fully understanding your yacht and its capabilities
  • Understanding boating laws and regulations
  • Attending a safe boating course
  • Being aware of your surroundings & watching the weather
  • Having enough life vests, jackets or preservers for every passenger
  • Carrying a flair
  • Carrying a marine radio
  • Learning to swim

What if you have a larger yacht and it is operated by a crew?  Some of the same tips apply of course, but there are some others to keep in mind:

  • Does your crew have the appropriate certifications and licensing that you as the owner require?
  • Has your crew participated in training for a variety of emergency situations?
  • Do they understand chain of command?
  • Are they versed in proper procedures for accident and incident reporting?
  • Does the crew have basic First Aid training?

Here are some further links to information regarding yachting safety:

National Marine Manufacturers Association requirements

Basic tips from in Australia

Are there other tips and suggestions you have for making your yachting experience more safe?  Please share them in the comments section!

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